Monday, May 11, 2009

Residential Solar Energy is HOT!

Solar is the hottest thing in green homes today – and with good reason.

According to The
Clear Mountain Solar Store, our local solar experts, “all the potential energy of the earth’s known oil, coal and natural gas reserves is equaled by just three weeks of solar energy. It is estimated that the solar energy that reaches the earth on a typical day could supply all the power the earth needs for a year.”

New government incentives and the explosive growth of the solar industry is great news for people building a new home or preparing a green renovation of their existing home.

Photovoltaic systems can be grid-tied or off-grid, are completely safe, reliable, and require minimal maintenance. Better yet, they produce no carbon dioxide or air pollution.

Heating water for our households accounts for about 25% of our total energy costs. A solar hot water system in New Hampshire and Vermont can produce 70% of your hot water needs and can save an average of 60% - 70% in energy costs, paying for itself in 3-5 years.

You can see even more savings by using a solar space heating system in conjunction with a furnace or biomass stove. Clear Mountain Solar explains, “active space heating systems are most affordable when sized to handle about half of a household’s heating needs. Systems designed to offer more are not cost-effective because most of the excess capacity is only used on the coldest winter days, remaining unused the rest of the year.” A solar space heating system can heat one room, a wing, or the whole home. With a return on investment is between 6-8 years, this type of system pays off quickly while you see the benefits immediately!

One of our one story home plans (pictured above) includes both a solar photovoltaic and a solar hot water system. Now is definitely the time to go green with solar energy!

Renewable Energy Resource Center, Burlington, VT